Organizing the Living Room Using the Zone Plan

Spring is in the air… or should be soon. Spring is when I want to open the windows and doors and let the sun pour in. The first thing you see when you come into my home is the living room. For that reason, I organize and clean my living room in March.

Using the zone plan, the first step is to develop a vision. I start my day in the living room with my coffee and the newspaper. Later in the day, my husband sits in his chair with coffee and the paper and maybe watches some news on TV. Together we connect in this room to plan our day, the week, and our future. We entertain family and friends here and welcome people from out front door. My vision is that this room is welcoming and nurturing. I want everyone who enters to feel like they can exhale and enjoy their time here.

Papers, books, brochures, and magazines can accumulate as we relax and read/discuss the literature. It is a gathering place. Because I want this area to feel uncluttered I need to have a plan for handling the paper. Every morning, before I sit down, I make a sweep of the room and put away any papers that were left out the night before. Yesterday’s newspaper goes into the recycling bin. Magazines go into a basket until the next one comes in and then the old one is recycled. We also have a tray to act as a landing pad for that one book we might be reading or any brochures we are studying.

Multimedia like DVDs and CDs are stored in the living room. During this month I sort the entire collection. We cull out the ones we are ready to donate or pass on to a friend. I use a container system to manage our supply. We can keep as many DVDs or CDs as will easily fit into our containers. If they don’t all fit with some room to spare, then we agree on what ones can go to a new home.

While I am organizing this space, I give it a good clean and change out accessories to match the season. Gone is the nut bowl and winter candle. In their place, I have fresh flowers and a pastel candle.

When this zone is complete at the end of the month, I celebrate by having a nice glass of wine, a lit candle, and some down time with my hubby.

Jonda S. Beattie

Professional Organizer

Organizing Tips for Your Laundry Zone


Laundry zones can be large (a big space in the basement or a room off the kitchen) or small (fold-out doors covering a washer/dryer combo in a closet size area) or somewhere in-between. Depending on the size of the laundry zone, this area may have other functions besides doing the wash. If there is room, it makes sense to store ironing supplies in this location. My area is large enough to store those ironing supplies plus pet supplies, recycling bins, cleaning supplies, and some oversized party supplies along with the laundry necessities.

The first step to organizing this zone is to develop your vision. How do you plan on using this area? What is working and not working now? How do you want it to look? How to you want to feel when you are in this zone?

Keeping up with the laundry becomes less of a chore with a well-organized space and a plan for keeping on top of the never-ending influx of dirty clothes. The idea is to keep the laundry moving and never piling up.

Next, brainstorm a list of tasks you need to accomplish for your laundry zone to match up with your vision. Because my zone is roomy and near the back entry, it is easy to drop something in that room “just for now” because I don’t want to take the time to put the item where it really belongs. Now is the time to remove all items that don’t belong – that don’t fit the vision. Also, on my list I plan to cull out cleaning and laundry products that are stored there. Products that sounded so promising (will get rid of any stain) or “green” (got rid of no stains) or products that have a nasty chemical smell or items that are duplicates should now all leave. These all add up to clutter. I have a space here for ironing and mending. I should not have my Christmas table cloth in the ironing bin in August and it is definitely time to schedule time to mend the waist band of that pair of black pants that has lingered in the mending area for almost a year.

Once your list is complete, get out your calendar and schedule a time for each task. Mark in your calendar what day you plan to pull out the washer and dryer and clean behind them. When are you clearing everything off the floor and cleaning it? Keeping up with the laundry is less of a chore with a well-organized space. An added bonus is that having an organized space makes it easier for family members to participate in doing laundry.

Work on a maintenance schedule. This room gets used a lot so have a scheduled time to bring out form hampers the dirty clothes and do your laundry. Get clothes from the washer to the dryer or hanging racks as quickly as possible. As soon as clothes are dry, get them back to their “home”. Having different colored baskets for each member of the family is helpful. As you pull clothes out of the dryer, put them into the correct basket and take them to the proper room.

Having this zone organized may not make you love to do laundry, but it will certainly make it less of a chore.

Jonda S. Beattie

Professional Organizer

Organizing the Master Bedroom Zone

I love to organize and declutter my master bedroom in the spring. It’s finally gotten warm enough to put away most heavy winter clothes. It is also a time when I like to clean the windows and let the sun pour in.

Anytime I work in a zone, I start with a vision. Because I share this room with my husband, it needs to be a shared vision. We want this room to have a calming and soothing feel and be a place that sparks joy and happiness. We like soft light but enough for reading. My husband meditates here so the room should have an uncluttered peaceful feel.

I allow one month to work on this zone and divide the area into four sections. The easiest way to do this is to assign one wall to each week. We look at our calendars and schedule time to do this project. Rob has his hanging clothing items in his office that is across the hall, so he will only have to schedule time to work on his dresser and end table.

  • Week One: I work on my closet. I evaluate all the clothes, shoes, handbags, and accessories to see what needs to go, what needs some care, and what is kept. I use the backward hanger trick (every time I clear out the closet, I hang up all my clothes with the hanger facing the wrong way. The first time I wear an item, I turn the hanger back around to its normal position). Any clothes that still have the hanger facing the wrong way, get a long hard look. Why have I not worn it? It may be a special occasion outfit and that occasion did not occur – so I keep it. I may have similar clothing that I prefer to wear – so I get rid of it. It may make me feel uncomfortable – low neckline, too short, a bit too tight, makes me feel old – so I get rid of it.
  • Week Two: I work on the wall with my dresser and Rob works on his dresser that is on the closet wall. We take every thing out and toss out anything that is damaged and put into a donation box anything that no longer fits or that we no longer enjoy wearing. I take out my heavy sweaters and tops and put them in a container that is in the closet. While working on this wall, I clean the dressers and any accessories that are on that wall.
  • Week Three: I work on a wall that only has a window. I also do the window that is on the bed side wall. I clean the blinds, the frames, and the inside of the windows.
  • Week Four: I work on the bed wall. We clear our end tables. Over the year a lot of reading material has accumulated. We pull out all items we are not currently reading and empty and clean out the drawers. During this week I also clean the bed and all bed linens. The duvet is cleaned and stored away for the warm months. Any accessories that are on the end tables and wall are also cleaned. 
As a reward for completing this zone, I will allow myself a shopping trip to purchase a few items that will replace some of the tossed ones. Then I will put out fresh flowers and step back and admire the space. I feel we will sleep better in the clear, clean bedroom.




Jonda S. Beattie

Professional Organizer

Let’s Throw a Party!

During the holidays chances are that you are either throwing a party or are a part of setting up a party. It might be a large Thanksgiving gathering, a choir or work party, a cookie exchange, or a gala New Year Eve party.

Since I love to give parties, over the years I have developed a plan that lets me enjoy my own parties. The plan involves backwards planning and looks like this:

  • Start with your vision. What is the purpose of this party? Where is it held? How will it look and feel if it turns out perfectly? Look over each component of the party and see it clearly – the local, the food, the people, the ambiance.
  • Choose a date for this event. Then at least six weeks out develop your guest list and send a save the date email followed by the actual invitation.
  • Take each component and decide what needs to happen for the vision to come true. For example, if the party is held in your home and it is a Christmas party, you see your home decorated and set up for the party. Make a list of every detail that needs attention between now and the party. If there is a decorated Christmas tree in your party space you will list decorating the tree, bringing out your decorations, putting up the tree, buying the tree – probably on four different days.
  • Develop your timeline. Put all the tasks on your calendar. Now follow your plan.
If you follow your plan you never have to worry about if you have time to get ready. If you are interested in the timeline I have developed for my Holiday 2017 party just contact me at jonda@timespaceorg.com and request it. You can see how I blocked out times for baking and most of one weekend before the party to prepare the house. This is what it takes to make my vision come true.
Enjoy!

Jonda S. Beattie

Professional Organizer

Dealing with Clutter Overload

You’re never quite sure how it happened but over time clutter completely took over an area in your home. At first it was just grandma’s china that was put into the room “just for now”. Later you had to quickly clear up the other guest bedroom for company and you just scooted some of the projects you were working on into this area. Then it was already a bit of a mess so anytime you didn’t know where to put something – in it went.

Now, you want to reclaim the room. You’d like a craft room or a place to keep and sell items on eBay. But the mess is huge. You can hardly open the door. You don’t even have a goat path clear across the room. You are overwhelmed and don’t know where to start.

When I work with clients I like to use a variation of the Mount Vernon Method. This method involves starting at the door and moving clockwise around the room completely cleaning one area at a time. I use a similar method but do it in two or three sweeps around the room.

On the first sweep around the room we only deal with items that are on the floor. Each item is identified and placed where it belongs. To keep from running all over the house, we set up zones outside of the room. One zone is “belongs in the house but not here”. Another zone or stack is “will go back into this room”. Then there are the trash, recycle, shred, and donate piles. Sometimes we also have a “leaving the house but going to someone specific” stack. The client is strongly discouraged from going to another area in the room and is always refocused back to the area at hand. The idea is just to keep on moving around the room one step at a time. Depending on how much stuff we have in the piles, about 30 minutes to an hour before quitting time we go to the stacks in the hall and deal with them. Hopefully by this time we have some clear space in the room to stack the items that will eventually live in this room. Items going somewhere else in the home are now taken to that spot. If there is no place to put them at this time, we just put them as close to where they are supposed to go as possible. Trash is taken out right away. Donate and shred piles can either be dealt with right away or held until more of the room is completed.

After we have cleared the floor, we go back around the room and deal with the surfaces of any furniture. We use the same technique. Then we look at what is stored out of sight in the furniture.

The client has a vision of how she wants this room to look and what function the room will have before we even begin. So the last step is placing everything back into the room that supports that vision.

I love the way this works with clients and they can really see their progress after each session.

If you have one of these “rooms of shame” you can get help to keep you focused or you can try this method on your own. A big part of making this work is to break the project down into manageable tasks and sticking to a timeline. Always allow time at the end of each session to clear up the stacks you have placed in the hallway.

Jonda S. Beattie

Professional Organizer

The Zone Plan: A Method for Organizing Your Home

My coaching program, The Zone Plan: A Method for Organizing Your Home, is now starting year 3! This program helps you set a vision, develop a plan, and implement the plan so that your home truly becomes a place you love.

Every month, except for July and December, we concentrate on a project. Because I have a smallish home and have done this on my own for years, by the end of each year I have touched everything in my home.

This month I am working on my entry area, a storage wall in my laundry area, and finally just cleaning a back hallway. My vision for the back entry area is to create a space where incoming and outgoing items are held. My husband hangs a couple of pieces of his seasonal outerwear on hooks and I hang a favorite hat. Cloth grocery bags are temporarily hung on the doorknob as soon as groceries are unpacked so the next person going to the car carries them out. Outgoing mail is laid on the bench until the next trip to the mailbox. I smile when I enter my home by this door as I have hung and placed some whimsical art here. The entry way is right outside my office, so the bench holds some of my office supplies.

The storage wall in my laundry room has many purposes. Here I have recycling bins, a cat box, extra cat supplies, bird seed, a tool kit, cleaning supplies, and some large serving pieces I use for parties. It is quite a mix but works well. As I organize this area, I mainly look for items that I no longer use or have expired and for items that have gotten dropped into this space but really need to go to the outside storage zone.

While I have personally used this zone plan for years, I am truly excited when others join me in this program.

If you would like to try it, join me for the 10 month Zone Plan Group Coaching program. We will benefit from exploring 10 months of two open line calls a month (recorded for your convenience), one personal closed call to each member, motivating content and exercises, a pdf copy of my workbook, and a closed secret Facebook group. All of this is designed to set you on your path of living in the home you envision so that you can control your space.

Each month we concentrate on one zone of your home or a project of your choice. I suggest a zone and model it but the beauty of this program is the concepts will fit any zone or project you want to tackle.

This program is powerful, yet affordable. The yearly rate is only $450. There is even a 2-pay option if you need to spread out payments.

If you want results and are ready to make your hoe the one of your vision, then join us! Contact me at jonda@timespaceorg.com.

Jonda S. Beattie

Professional Organizer

Organizing and Cleaning the Living Room for Spring

Spring is in the air! I love this time of year. In spring I want my home to feel fresh and sparkly. I want the sunlight to stream in. The living room is the first thing you see when you enter my home.  For that reason, I choose this area to organize in the month of March in my Zone Plan program.

The first step is to review your vision for the living room. I start my day here with coffee and the newspaper. Later in the day, my husband sits in his chair with coffee and the paper and maybe watches some news on TV. Together we often connect in this room to plan our day, the week, and the future. For entertainment we work on the daily jumble and crossword puzzle together. Sometimes we watch TV or a movie. We often eat our supper in the living room. We entertain family and friends here and welcome people from out front door. Therefore, I want this room to feel welcoming and nurturing. I want everyone who comes into this area to feel like they can exhale and enjoy their time here.

Papers, books, brochures, and magazines can accumulate as we relax and read/discuss the literature. It is a gathering place. To keep the area feeling uncluttered, I have a plan for that paper. Every morning before I sit down I make a sweep and put away any papers that we left out the night before. My rule for newspapers and magazines is when a new one comes in, the old one goes out. We get quite a few magazines so I have a basket to hold them. If there is an article that I want to read when the new magazine comes in, I’ll leave that magazine out on the coffee table and read it within the next few days. We also have a tray for a landing pad for that one book we might be reading there or any brochures we are studying.

Multimedia like DVDs and CDs are usually found in the living room. During this month I sort the entire collection. We cull out the ones we are ready to donate or pass on to a friend. I use a container system to manage our supply. We keep as many DVDs or CDs as will easily fit into our containers. If they don’t all fit in with some room to spare, then some must find new homes elsewhere.

While I am organizing this space I give it a good deep clean and change out accessories to match the season. Gone is the nut bowl and winter candle. In their place I have fresh spring flowers and a pastel candle.

When the zone is complete, I celebrate by having a nice glass of wine, a lit candle, and some down time with my hubby.

Jonda S. Beattie

Professional Organizer

Would Virtual Organizing Work for You?





One of the services I offer is virtual organizing. Many people are not sure how this works and if it would work for them. Let’s explore those topics now.

How does virtual organizing work?

  • First we have a free phone consultation to explore if this would work
  • If we decide it will work, you fill out a questionnaire that helps solidify your intentions and goals for the sessions
  • If appropriate, you send pictures of the areas we target
  • You develop your vision of what the area will look like and how you will feel
  • We brainstorm all that needs to happen to reach your goals
  • We set up a completion date and develop a timeline
  • Each session we refine the plan and you put dates on your calendar to complete the tasks
  • As the organizer, I hold you accountable, help you prioritize, and make suggestions as well as keep you motivated
  • Once the goal is reached, we develop a maintenance routine
Would this work for me? Yes, if:
  • You can work by yourself and are motivated but want/need some guidance and accountability
  • You realize that organizational help is important but you are on a budget
  • You are comfortable communicating via phone, email, skype, and can send emails with photos
  • You are creative and need custom-tailored sessions
  • You are not physically close to professional organizers but still want their help
For more information visit my web site http://timespaceorg.com/services/ or contact me by email (jonda@timespaceorg.com) or phone (404-299-5111).

Jonda S. Beattie

Professional Organizer

Celebrating One Year of The Zone Plan Coaching Program

I have developed a coaching program, The Zone Plan: A Method for Organizing Your Home, that helps you set a vision, develop a plan, and implement the plan so that your home truly becomes a place you love. This program has been active for one year now and as I finish up my zone for this month, I will have revisited my vision for every zone in my home and touched everything in those zones.

This last zone is really one that catches three areas in my home that did not get included in any previous zone. This month I am working on my entry area, a storage wall in my laundry area, and finally just cleaning a back hallway.

My vision for the entry area is to create a space where incoming and outgoing items are held. My husband hangs a couple of pieces of his seasonal outerwear on hoods and I hang a favorite hat. Cloth grocery bags are hung on the doorknob as soon as groceries are unpicked so the next person going to the car carries them out. Outgoing mail is laid on the bench until the next trip to a mailbox. I like to smile when I enter my home by this door, so I have hung and place some whimsical art. This entry way is right outside my office, so the bench holds some of my office supplies.

The storage area in my laundry room has many purposes. Here I have recycling bins, a cat box, extra cat supplies, bird seed, a tool kit, and cleaning supplies. It is quite a mix but works well. As I go through this area, I mainly look for items that I no longer use or have expired. There are usually a few items that got dropped there that need to go to the outside storage shed.

While I personally have been using this zone plan for years, I am truly excited to have others join me in this program.

If you would like to try it, join me for the 10 month Zone Plan Group Coaching program. We will benefit from exploring 10 months of two open line calls a month (recorded for your convenience), one personal closed call to each member, motivating content and exercises, a pdf copy of my workbook, and a closed Facebook group. All of this is designed to set you on your path of living in the home you envision so that you control your space.

Each month (skipping the months of July and December) we will concentrate on one zone of the home. I will suggest a zone but the beauty of this program is that the concepts will fit any zone that you want to tackle.

This program is powerful, yet affordable. The yearly rate is only $450. There is even a 2-pay option if you need to spread payments out.

If you want results and are ready to make your home the one of your vision, then join us!
jonda@timespaceorg.com 

Jonda S. Beattie

Professional Organizer

Office Zone

Every year I make a plan for touching everything in my home. This helps me remember what I have and helps  me to purge items I no longer need or love.

I always start the year in my office.

After a year, my office begins to feel overfull and not well organized. Files are stuffed and new things have come into the office by way of gifts or books.

My vision for my office is to have an area where I work that is attractive and welcoming. I want to feel in control and happy when in my office. I want space to work on a project without the distractions of unfinished work yelling at me.

Now is the logical time to organize and clear out files, drawers, bookshelves and project bins to allow for new projects and growth. I will take the entire month of January to get this space back in line with my vision.

I look around and decide what is bugging me. I see things like too much clutter on my desktop and items rather randomly stacked in my credenza. My couch has become an easy place to drop items.

I start with my desktop and the drawers in my desk. Then I move to the file cabinet that abuts my desk. Files are pulled and taken to the closet in the guest bedroom. Tax papers are pulled together.

Next I will work on the bookcase that is right behind me and the credenza where action files and project bins are stored. I know that some projects are completed but paperwork still lingers. I need to empty these bins for new projects I am working on or plan to work. I will then clean the meeting area of my office and find a better routine for items that get dumped there.

Finally I will work on some files and notebooks that are stored in my laundry room but are part of my office management.

By the end of the month, I will call whatever has been accomplished “good enough” and move on to the next zone. I will schedule regular daily maintenance chores (clear the desk and couch) and weekly maintenance (check action folders and clean room). The office will not need a real zone maintenance until next January. I always celebrate by buying fresh flowers for my office.

Jonda S. Beattie

Professional Organizer